I’ve come to realize that encountering angels is really about me being open to their aura as opposed to the angels not shining their golden light on me and mine. The more stress and/or less grateful I’m feeling, the more I fail to recognize the angels among us. That is NOT to say that they are not out there doing their good work on my behalf but to acknowledge that there are times in my life when I’m not attending to those very special people who confirm for me that there is good in all humankind.
These days living in my corner of the world has been challenging. If you watch the news, you might’ve seen my little town of Oceanside highlighted as one of the hardest hit on Long Island. Yes, we are in the thick of recovering from Superstorm Sandy’s destructive forces here on Nassau County’s south shore of Long Island. And, like my experience on 9/11, I fully intend to write a blow-by-blow just the way I experienced it from my front stoop… but that’s a different story. This one here is about an angel that I encountered in a most unexpected place but failed to acknowledge sooner.
So, with a touch of survivor’s guilt and no further ado, in my usual better-late-than-never manner I’d like to tip my halo (yeah… as if I have one) to the Carnival Man at the Clown Head Water Balloon Shoot trailer at the Freeport Nautical Mile Fall Festival held in October. A GREAT BIG THANKS to this kind little Carney Man who made my Little Man’s day!
This story actually begins at Hershey Park when, in one of many failed attempts to catch up with old friends who were serpentining from ride to ride, we found ourselves in a far corner of the park where hubby and the Old Soul decided to hit the Twin Racers roller coaster. To pass the waiting time, the Big Little Men and I sidled up to the Clown Head Water Balloon Shoot game. You know the one where you shoot the water gun into the clown’s mouth and it blows up a balloon. And, the first shooter to pop his/her balloon wins a prize. As it was near the end of the day and in a remote corner of the park my two Little Men were the only players which, as luck would have it, guaranteed us a winner… and a prize. I laid down my four bucks and the starting bell sounded. Both boys took reasonable aim then pulled and held their triggers and the balloons began to fill. As they say in the old west, the luck of the draw went to the Big Little Man who filled and popped his balloon before the little Little Man (who, as I may have mentioned before is now quite a few pounds heavier than his identical twin brother). As the victor, the Big Little man selected a small black-and-white stuffed penguin which he promptly named “Banner” after Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk’s kinder, gentler alter ego.
Just a tad jealous, the Little Man wanted to play again, but as the ride across the way had just let out, there were now four other players and our chances of winning significantly decreased to odds I was not willing to throw money against. So we meandered away with promises that the Little Man would have his chance to win a prize while I discreetly high-fived the Big Little Man on his win.
A few weeks later the opportunity to even the score arose. Perusing the ride options at Freeport Nautical Mile’s Fall Festival with Grandma and the kids I spied the Clown Head Water Balloon Shoot game and a sign ensuring there was “A Winner Every Time!” With the trailer presently devoid of patrons, I quickly laid my money down and confided in the hagard-looking traveling Carney Man that My Little Man needed to win because the Big Little Man won last week. He nodded with a conspiratorial grin and assigned The Boys water guns on either end of the trailer. But just as he gave me my change and prepared to start the competition another two children and their mama wandered over to the trailer. SHOOT! I mean… we needed to start SHOOTING before they laid down their money. I was betting on a two-man shoot-out without interference from outsiders who could beat us to the prize. But before the Carney Man sounded the starting bell, the other mom laid her money down and manned the mounted gun right next to my Little Man. UGH!
Carney Man must have seen the desperation in my eyes and gave me a secret wink and nod saying quietly, “It’s alright. I’ve got him!” The bell sounded promptly and the other Mom — apparently hellbent on teaching her own boys a different lesson than the one I was hoping to instill in mine — filled and popped her balloon well before any of the young shooters ever had a chance.
Truth be told, I was a little ticked off at her adult competitiveness and utter lack of empathy for My Little Men… if not for her own. I mean, how competitive mom missed or ignored the fact that she was interfering in something critical when she stepped up to the counter where two identical Little Men with Down syndrome were squaring off for a gun fight against each other, I’ll never know!!! But it reminded me of Seinfeld’s friend Kramer playing “kah-rah-tay” against little children, or the iCarly episode when Chef Ricky Flame wrestles little children to soothe his battered ego. Grow up… right?
Well, if I was devastated by the outcome I could only imagine my Little man’s thoughts… but we weren’t disappointed for long! Holding his palm up in the universal “hold your horses” sign to the winning mom, Carney Man announced loudly, “We have a winner” and promptly told My Little Man to choose his prize. He excitedly picked the banana with long dreadlocks hanging from a colorful knit hat and, hugging his new banana, thanked Carney Man profusely and marched off the proud winner. With the utmost gratitude, I thanked Carney Man myself, quietly and behind the Little Man’s back. And as we cruised happily away, I spied Carney Man giving competitive mom her prize while her boys stood idly by.
God knows Carney Man did not have to accommodate us but, based on his actions, I also know that he totally understood just how important it was to my Little Man — and to me — that he got his turn to win a prize… just like his brother. What Carney Man did was extraordinary and I owe him a debt of gratitude. I hope he knows just how much his actions meant to us and how grateful I am to him for making My Little Man a very happy gun fighter that day. His “RastaNana” now has a prominent spot in his room… right next to “Banner” the penguin.